I learned that Dr. Clinton was giving up the practice because his costs were too high and he could still practice medicine as a traveling emergency room doctor. Since he’s a pilot, he’d be able to fly his plane to all these small towns — it actually sounded fun to me, and I would have been super enthusiastic if it weren’t for the fact that this was the one person in whom I had confided beyond the small circle of my wife and therapist. It was really, really hard to get up the nerve to go do see him, and I felt we were on a roll with the hormones and the medical side of my treatment.

So now I was faced with finding a new doctor. Dr. Clinton reassured me in a number of ways, some of which were reassuring. First, my files would be moved to the Kelly Clinic for 50 years, so they were safe and secure. Second, while he didn’t have any idea as to who might be a good PCP with sympathy for gender issues, he suggested the Kelly Clinic because a) they’re good people, b) they have my files, c) they’re new and need new patients, and d) they have some young residents who have probably been exposed to GID more than old farts. Third, we discussed my prescription and he said he was happy with my levels and that he’d write me a 12-month scrip at 60 pills per month, which would allow me to continue at my current levels for 24 months or I could double my dose and make them last a year. Since I was already thinking of doubling, this sounded good to me. This year, he explained, ought to be plenty of time for me to find a new doctor. Fourth, he’d still be my aviation medical examiner (AME), probably at a friend’s clinic and probably once or twice a month, so that aspect of my GID ought not to involve any doctor transition as he was already familiar with all my issues.

I said farewell, paid my bill, and left, feeling quite alone in the world. Where do you find a new doctor in this neck of the woods who knows about sex changes? I figured it would be a long and straining process. Still, one must try, so I filled my prescriptions, doubled my dose, and began my search.

I searched the web for “Bedford Falls & gender & doctor” and came up empty handed. I asked Chuck and he didn’t know, although he said I might like Art Simon because of his open mindedness and demeanor, but that he wasn’t on my insurance. I next broadened my search by studying the Kelly Clinic’s website and their doctors and their specialties. Most seemed to be good old boys from around here with a few exceptions. So, using my Yahoo account as Joyce, I wrote them and explained my situation and asked if anyone on the staff was familiar or could take me on. I got a reply back a few days later saying no, no one knew anything and good luck. Fairly straightforward rejection, but I figured maybe I had asked too specific of a question — maybe asking if anyone knows anything about GID is perhaps too narrow.

I did the same thing at the University Medical Center, looking through their typically bureaucratic website for some kind of contact info. I could only find a vague email about family practice, so I sent the same email to them, getting no reply. Well, I thought, I’m probably screwed.

I looked on the web for Art Simon, since Chuck had mentioned his name, and discovered that he’s not only a family doctor (independent), but he’s also a specialist in sex hormones and thyroid issues, and has a glowing reputation on the web with lots of endorsements. This was promising, I told myself.

I figured, well, I have time, with 12 months of hormones, and all, so I let things rest. But as October came around, my sense of despair grew and I felt almost pushed into doing something, anything, to sooth my tormented mind (too dramatic? Well, it felt like it at the time, ok.)

Serendipity arrived in the form of a flyer in my faculty mailbox for the family practice at the UMC and it had an email link called something like newpatientqueries@umc.org, which was not the email I had used before. Ok, I thought. Maybe they didn’t answer me because of the labyrinthine and outdated nature of their website. So I mailed my query to them again.

This time, I got a very nice note back from one of the staff who said that they had discussed this with family practice, and yes, from a general practitioner perspective, they were familiar and could help. She listed several doctors who were taking new patients. I was quite thrilled and studied their website looking at their pictures and specialties. One of the doctors the clerk listed was a nurse practitioner (Meredith) who everyone I know raves about, so I wrote another letter asking about which doctor should I choose, could I switch around between them if I needed something different, and could I also see Meredith instead of the docs. I got another fabulous note from a different woman this time who said yes, I could move around, even though I had picked a named PCP, and yes, I could see Meredith.